The Helix Strand

Discussion in 'Gear' started by sidthekidlives, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. Chu

    Chu Well-Known Member

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    One if the reasons I didn't get a Helix was the previous strategy on Line 6 products. Clearly, the Helix is an absolute killer device but I was slightly burned by how quickly they changed their products and the 'Now with even more absolute authentic valve emulation'.

    On the flip side, Kemper amps came out in 2011 which is practically ancient and yet they cost more than before. I do wonder if a Kemper 2 is around the corner but I get the distinct impression that Kemper have no intention on bringing out device after device in order to stay at the forefront of their genre for decades to come. Given the previous 'Kemper' product was the Virus synth, I reckon the Kemper 2 will be a motorbike.
     
  2. Tankman

    Tankman Well-Known Member

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    I think it's smart. Release your flagship product. Show what you can do. The early adopter will buy it, regardless of price. Then you have the group that will wait for the price to go down or who will buy second hand. You also have the group that love it, but don't want to spend that much money. At the point where you think your flagship sales will not get better anymore, cater to the group with a smaller budget who have been wanting it for so long that they will jump on these as early adopters as well.
     
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  3. Sustainerplayer

    Sustainerplayer On the edge of breakup

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    Isn't that what almost all tech companies does?

    Flagship first - then cheaper and cheaper iterations of the same product ... Then new flagship ... rinse, repeat ...
     
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  4. Sustainerplayer

    Sustainerplayer On the edge of breakup

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    When talking to Virus owners one could get the impression that it is abandonware right now. One could fear the same for Kemper once a new darling comes along.

    Don't get me wrong. I used to be hardware synth guy in days past. The Virus synth is IMO an amazing machine. But it still has some issues that needs attention - and some broken promises of features that never came (or worked) - at least to my understanding.
     
  5. Tankman

    Tankman Well-Known Member

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    In general, a flagship product or store even does not generate profit. It's purely to show off what a company can do. The fact that Line6 manages to sell the Helix as well as they do is quite impressive.

    I know for a fact for example that H&M (yes the clothing chain) has a flagship store in Amsterdam on a very good, but very expensive location. You will only find the most recent collection there in it's entirety. That store always has a huge loss. They don't make a single penny.

    Ibanez does it with their AE-series acoustics. They show off skills with MIJ guitars. Artists play them, but the don't sell them a lot. They sell the Chinese built ones.

    I think Boss did the same with the Waza amps.

    I can't think of any more examples right now, but you get the point.
     
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  6. mirage2101

    mirage2101 Well-Known Member

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    Examples are all over the industry. From clothing to cars to audio equipment. The flagship model is so expensive maybe a few are sold and all the other models take away from it.
    Kef has really nice speakers but I think if you want two of their flagship model with an amp and cables it'll set you back around 120k. And then we're not talking about the house that you need with rooms big enough to actually use them as intended :)
    funny story, bit of a sidetrack. about 25 years ago kef engineers got a challenge: Ignore all limits, funds and materials and design what you would consider the perfect speaker. they came up with a shape, what the material should be able to handle etc. At that time no material was available with the properties they needed. Nor speakers that were precise enough. Around 10 years ago they found a boat builder who could shape carbon fibre exactly the way they needed.
    And now you can buy the kef blade for just 12,5k a piece..
    If you have these speakers.. you can place a coin on it's side on top of them.. turn up to 125db.. And the coin will stay put. that is how little vibration carries over.. Without any dampening in the box.
    I love that kind of stuff..


    Line6 has hit it out of the park. Especially with the LT, effects and now stomp unit. There's something for every price range and even if you buy the more advanced product later on their stuff keeps value pretty well.

    Kemper on the other hand.. They clearly want to keep their lineup simple and are saying ok guys this is a premium product with a premium price for people who can afford it..
    Suppose they made a student/home version.. Limit the profiles.. maybe only kemper profiles. Limit the number of effects.. just 1 watt. Hell make it a combo to further limit it. Or maybe say you're not allowed to use this is you make money of your music (the reaper price model)
    I would be all over something like that. Maybe price it to compete with the helix LT or even the katana? Kemper would be in every guitar players home within a couple of years.
    I don't know why they're not doing something like that but even with all the glowing reviews.. A 7 year old product.. in this day and age.. I don't know.. I just can't imagine with the advances made there's not something that can be done better or cheaper.
     
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  7. Sustainerplayer

    Sustainerplayer On the edge of breakup

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    That's why I wrote "tech" - and maybe I should have emphasized "small tech" company.

    Cause ... they* can't afford to make a unprofitable flagship just for show and the heck of it.

    Anyways. You see and have seen this approach for years from a lot of MI companies - like RME, UAD, Presonus, Fractal Audio - yeah pretty much any small company in the MI selling hardware.

    Well. Enough business talk - it's shrinking my creative brain - now I go fire up my home studio and make some noise!

    * = maybe Line 6 can swing that now - having Yamaha corp backing them up.
     
  8. Tankman

    Tankman Well-Known Member

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    I love marketing...

    A great way for Kemper to go would be a Kemper light. Just the profiles it comes with or that you can download for it. Take out the actual profiling feature. Limit the amount of presets to save disc space. Should cut a bit off the price. Perhaps make it a floorboard format.
     
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  9. Chu

    Chu Well-Known Member

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    I believe that Christoph Kemper has no intention of build Kemper into a huge tech company like Line 6. Perhaps he and his team enjoy working in a small team, well paid and highly rewarding but without the burden of a HR department, board of directors etc. When the Kemper is finally done, they may have something entirely different planned. It's all guess work from me but I believe that they deliberately avoid trying to build the brand. It can be easy looking from the outside to think that they are losing out to bigger brands but maybe they love their jobs and get paid well. It's easy to see growth as a sign of healthy business but you only have to look at Gibson to realise the risks.

    Christoph Kemper have addressed this a few times, the actually savings in creating a device without the ability to capture a profile is very small. A couple of chips and an XLR socket at most. Most of what we pay for is the wages of the staff and the development costs. Not saying it wouldn't be welcome but maybe it isn't worth the development costs and expense of running multiple product lines.

    Despite being 7 years old, the newer Helix and AxeFxIII don't actually sound better (not a dig at either product, each is marvellous). I'm not really sure if there's much scope for improving the sounds of any of them, it's all going to be extra features from here on and I'm not convinced a Kemper 2 will give me anything worthwhile. Same with the Helix. What doesn't it do that it should?
     
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  10. mirage2101

    mirage2101 Well-Known Member

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    The thing Tankman and me are getting at is not that the cheaper unit will actually be produced cheaper. the helix LT's production costs are barely lower then the full helix. The strategy is that by limiting functionality of the cheaper units you're not loosing sales on the big units.

    But if this is what they're doing more power to them.
    The question is, after 7 years.. isn't the initial research paid off? What are you paying for now? The next product?
     
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  11. Chu

    Chu Well-Known Member

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    Cocaine fueled parties.

    And yes, the next product. And their pension funds. I completely get all of your points, these are all things frequently mentioned on the Kemper forum but I just consider that Kemper are doing it their own way and deliberately differently than their competition. I think that it's fair to say that if they tried to compete, they'd fail. Likewise Line 6 have discovered their own business model which is working very well for them.

    Anyway, enough about Kemper, this is a Helix thread!
     
  12. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    I think the only big upgrade for a Kemper (or any other profiler) would be if they not just capturing one setting of the amp; but could ask you to turn a control on the amp to zero and slowly adjust it to max, then do the same with all other controls ( bass, mid, treble, presence etc.). And then the profiler could replicate the original controls as well...
    It would give us a much better product.
    Still won't be the same as the original amp as you can't change the tubes, adjust the bias etc. but would get us much closer what we need. (IMO)

    Don't get me wrong, the Kemper is great as it is, but I heard people are complaining that the profiled settings are not working for them... Especially with the gain and bass settings for high-gain tones...
     
  13. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    the Helix Stomp is actually what I was requesting from many brands and manufacturers.
    Just a simple and small platform to get a basic tone, and some additional effect, but with great tonal characteristic and still plenty of options there though if needed.

    I could use it
    1.) at home as an audio interface to record my demos,
    2.) bring to rehearsals to use it on a power amp and real 4x12 " cab,
    3.) and if I ever make to play at a gig it could be just hooked up to any poweramp with cab from the other bands... (if they are willing to do so of course)

    BUT(!) I already got an amp, my pedalboard is great and enough for me. I like my rig, know how it's working, how to dial in whatever I want. (not even mentioned my 2 completely custom stomp boxes)
    Should I replace my rig to a completely digital unit?
    I don't think so. I am too worried what will happen if that all-in-one unit will broke down...
    And that Line6 badge is not something I am comfortable with unfortunately. I had a few Line6 products....
    I think if I ever would replace my rig for such a modern modeller gadget, then it would be a Fractal AX8...
     
  14. Tankman

    Tankman Well-Known Member

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    The more I think about it, the more I think something like the HX effects in the size of the HX stomp would be something for me. Just the effects. No amp models. And very small. 3 buttons is fine. 2 presets and a tap tempo.
     
  15. mirage2101

    mirage2101 Well-Known Member

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    Why do you think the hx effects is too big? There are delay pedals that are bigger ;)
     
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  16. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    Check out the Zoom MS-50.
    this is what I use and it's great if you need just a few effects (although this one got even amp sims which are rubbish, but it's there)

    you can save presents, and you can scroll through a dedicated list with the 1 footswitch.
    what I've done is made a few "empty" presets, then created a list like
    A: Empty
    B: solo (volume boost in FX loop, delay and reverb)
    C: Empty
    D: Flanger and short delay
    etc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  17. Tankman

    Tankman Well-Known Member

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    I have had many sized of pedalboards over the years. The smallest being a Pedaltrain Mini and the largest a Pedaltrain 2 with some additional expression pedals on the ground next to it. I have limited myself to the size of the Pedaltrain Metro 24. I do not want to go bigger. Smaller is always good, but never bigger. Everything needs to fit on this board. The HX effects will fit if I use it as the brain of my board, but there are other pedals I do not wish to part with like my Wampler Catapulp, Dr No Mother Brain Delay, Diamond Compressor, Dunlop Mini Wah, Tuner (because I hate built in tuners in multi effects). This means I will have to get rid of a few pedals to make it fit. Whereas with a smaller, Strymon Mobius or Source Audio Nemesis sized pedal I would just get rid of my Phase 90, CE-5 and Sub n Up mini. These 3 pedals would free up the space needed for the larger pedal.

    I have to say, I am still wondering if switching completely to the HX Effects with just the Catapulp, tuner and Wah next to it (which will fit) is the more practical way to go. With the separate pedals, I know I use them. With the multi stuff I know there is so much I will never use, it makes it seem less worth it. Yes it's there if I need it, but in reality, do I really need it to be there to begin with?

    I am just SO used to playing pedals over multi units. It's hard for me to change my mindset.
     
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  18. mirage2101

    mirage2101 Well-Known Member

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    Ok I get that. The helix does fit on my pedaltrain classic jr but it's not ideal.
    The trio+ fits next to it. That's important because that's my looper and should be in range to easily turn on and off. I only used the buffalo evolution in the fx loop. the fit if turned 45 degrees. But that's allright because the pedal is always on and I use the fx loop to either use it or not.
    But then I stopped using the evolution. No matter how great the evolution is... It's a pedal that's setup just one way. I can clean it up by dialing back guitar volume but it is in the end limited. On the helix I use 3 different pedals for crunch, overdrive and fuzz. And a boost pedal setup for a bit of volume and mid boost.
    And when I play my other guitar, it are 3 other pedals because they sound better with the humbuckers..

    I could fit the tuner on there but the tuner in the hx effect is fine.

    The thing with having all those effect is that you can pick whatever for the sound you're looking for in that patch. There will be a good delay and compressor in there. I don't know if you'll find an alternative for the catapulp or wah.
    For me all the on-board effects are more then good enough. The only way to find out is to try.. And maybe let go of some pedals you don't want to.
     
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  19. Tankman

    Tankman Well-Known Member

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    Ah, knowing myself I will end up finding one delay sound I like and I will stick to day and forget all about the other 500 possible delays I could use. I have owned the TC Electornic Flashback and Flashback X4. Even with the X4 with 3 presets I usually just set up a nice Analog sounding delay. The other 2 buttons had a Ring Modulator and a Chorus on it. Naturally, I ended up selling it and I just bought a nice Analog delay.

    The more I post in this thread, the more I realise multi FX units are probably not for me. I'm going to stop highjacking this thread now and let you guys continue your chats about the Helix.
     
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  20. Tankman

    Tankman Well-Known Member

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    I just can't shake the idea of having every single effect possible available to me in one box. Next band practice I am borrowing my bass player's Helix. He is going to remake my current pedalboard in the Helix so I can hear the difference. Or not hear it. I will also use the oppurtunity to try some of the other effects. If I like it, I might reconsider replacing most of pedalboard with a HX Effects unit.
     
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